Seeing action in the skies over Dunkirk during Operation Dynamo the Roc suffered with poor performance due to its turret armament. Despite efforts to improve this, the Blackburn
Roc was eventually removed from service by mid 1943.
23rd December 1938
Derived from the Blackburn Skua and with the same armament principle of the Royal Air Force's
Boulton Paul Defiant, a gun turret located behind the cockpit, to allow concentrated fire on
enemy bombers the Roc would be ordered into production on the 28th April 1937 when 136 were ordered to meet Specification O.15/37. It would, however, be Boulton Paul who would produce the
new aircraft due to Blackburn having to produce the Skua.
On the 23rd December 1938 the Blackburn Roc flew for the first time and after undergoing trials was sent to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment during March 1939,
the A&AEE would also receive the following two Rocs. Like the Defiant the Roc's performance suffered, due to the protruding turret, and the aircraft was slower than the Skua and despite
trying various options, including fitting a larger propeller, to improve performance little was gained although the aircraft with the use of dive brakes was stable in a steep dive.
It would be during February 1940 when the Blackburn Roc would first enter service with the Fleet Air Arm when No. 806 Squadron based at Eastleigh received four Rocs. The Roc's operational
service would see it take part in the evacuation of the Allied forces at Dunkirk working alongside the Skua and it was during this when on the 28th May 1940 the Roc got its only confirmed
victory by shooting down a Junkers Ju 88. Dispersed around the United Kingdom the Blackburn Roc would also serve with the Anti-Aircraft Co-operation unit and a few battle damaged Rocs
would serve as permanently manned machine-gun posts and a few made their way to Bermuda.
With only the original 136 ordered produced the Blackburn Roc was slowly phased out of service with the final two removed during August 1943.
Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.
|Roc Mk I
||four 0.303-in machine-guns
Click on the photo to view a larger version.
(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.
|No known examples currently on public display in the UK.